Thursday, September 30, 2010

You Must Be At Least This Tall To Take This $700B Ride

A picture worth 700 Billion Dollars for folks making more than a million dollars a year — paid for your grand children... Is this your father's Republican Party?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Youth Groups, Books + Reaching for Happiness

Is this how kids understand the utility of your youth group?*

If not, why not?
If so, are you good with that? Is it on purpose? Do you feed it?
Where (if at all) do you see connections between this video and the narrative in John 6:1-71?

* Of course, you can switch out "kids" for "people" and "youth group" for "church" or whatever you call it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Raising Adults for the 21st Century

OK, that title is a play on words celebrating the news that, as of today, Raising Adults is available for:
Kindle at Amazon 
iPad at Apple*
PDF readers of any sort at Youth Specialties
Beyond the word play, I am convinced that people who practice and refine the relational patterns in Raising Adults really do produce women and men who are well suited for life in the world as we know it today.

Priced to Take You Back to the Future

I've put this book in digital form and priced it super-low (just $2.99/$2.99/$4.99 US) because — to cop a line from the writer Cory Doctorow (I'm pretty sure he snatched it from Tim O'Reilly) —
This book doesn't suffer from piracy; it suffers from obscurity.
I decided to remove the risk of buying Raising Adults so more people — I'm thinking anyone on any continent who reads English and cares about kids — can make it their own.

At those prices (we're talking numbers we haven't seen since the 1950s) , reading Raising Adults carries more risk than scraping together the change to buy it.

And in fairness I have to admit it is a somewhat risky read if we can judge such things by how mad this book makes some people of the high control, patronize-the-children-and-keep-them-silent-fat-and-happy school of parenting. Oops! Did I say that out loud?

So. Buy the book to read on your computer, Kindle or iPad — by the way, it's totally searchable when you read it that way so if you need to locate a quick topical quote or a short passage to spark conversation at a parents' meeting, it could hardly be easier.

If you truly hate this book (not so much that you want me dead but enough that you want me to suffer like you did reading it), tell me that and we'll try to work something out — maybe I'll come trim your lawn or something...if you buy the plane ticket.

And if you like Raising Adults, tell your friends.

* If you own an iPad/iPhone, you probably already know there's no online bookstore that you can navigate to from your computer — you get to books through the iBookstore app on your hand held device. You probably also know that Kindle books look great on your Apple device.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's harder to believe than not to

When my friend was 15, we talked long about the difficulties of believing and I recall trying to comfort her with a fragment from Flannery O'Connor: "It is much harder to believe than not to believe."

Now, two decades later, my friend writes:
I have long had a question about the first of the blessings in the book Blessing Your Spirit by Sylvia Gunther/Arthur Burke... The first blessing is about identity and legitimacy, which I know is hugely important in terms of the well being of our spirits...  I was trying to pray it this morning, but I stopped because there is something I can't reconcile in my mind and I wan't your insight/opinion...
 In this blessing, there are phrases like "He chose your parents", "He put you in your family", "He chose every one of your 23 pairs of chromosomes" "He chose every one of your than 10,000 genes"... I can take this in for myself and find that comforting, but then I always wonder about things, like the friend who's father was physically abusive while he was in the womb and after he was born, and then abandoned him he was very young, or the child who could not be born because of a chromosomal disorder which dramatically impacted the course of development of his body in the womb, or the child with a genetic disorder or neurological disorder that resulted in severe autism or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia... Where is God in that?
 I guess maybe it's not God I take issue with but the language of this blessing... I believe God delights int he creation of each one of His children, but some of His children suffer so greatly from such an early age, and throughout the whole of their lives and, in light of that, I just don't know that I believe God is making active choices about the elements that are woven together to create us... How could He choose things that would cause such suffering?  How do we understand why sometimes physical or mental development is so different and challenging for some of God's children?  If it is, how can we say it's God's and blessing and miracle when that challenge does not occur?  It doesn't make sense it my mind....
I realize this is a big question, but I would love insight when you have the time...
I think this is an awfully good question from someone who has searched high and low and always seems to take God more seriously than anyone else, including herself. For what it's worth, here's my reply:

Friday, September 03, 2010

"...somebody to make it all better. Now."

The nation demands the impossible: quick, painless solutions to long-term, structural problems. While they're running for office, politicians of both parties encourage this kind of magical thinking. When they get into office, they're forced to try to explain that things aren't quite so simple -- that restructuring our economy, renewing the nation's increasingly rickety infrastructure, reforming an unsustainable system of entitlements, redefining America's position in the world and all the other massive challenges that face the country are going to require years of effort. But the American people don't want to hear any of this. They want somebody to make it all better. Now. 
Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post 
 photo by BabyDinosaur

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wanting it Both Ways

Here's part of what American citizens have to look straight in the eye — or look the other way on — as we vote in November. It's 13 minutes long (13 agonizing minutes for Rachel Maddow haters), but I believe it has to be reckoned-with.